The Huge List of Unforgettable Gifts for Mom with Dementia
If you have a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia, this post is for you! Because Mother’s day is right around the corner, I’m sharing a huge list of unforgettable gifts for mom with dementia.
THE HUGE LIST OF UNFORGETTABLE GIFTS FOR MOM WITH DEMENTIA
Today’s post is a bit special, and out-of-the-ordinary for My Wee Abode.
For the few that may not know, my 83-year-old mom has Alzheimer’s and as of April 2022, I became her full-time primary caretaker.
Our Caretaker Schedule
In case your are wondering…
My siblings are a HUGE part of the caretaking for Mom. We have a wonderful schedule in place, and it has worked quite well for just over a year now (as of this writing).
Here is a sample of one of our monthly calendars:
- Sister: Monday and Wednesday, all day, and one Saturday a month
- Brother 1: Every Thursday evening for 3 hours, and one Saturday every two months
- Brother 2: One Saturday every two months, and ‘pitch-hits’ when needed
And, if I need a little ‘extra’ time, my sister (and sometimes my brothers) will come and let me run an errand or two while she sits with mom.
We are now looking for a caretaker agency that can help when my sis is gone on vacations. Right now, I’ve just ended a 12-day stretch with mom, with a few short breaks.
PLUS, Mom seems to be on a decline. As of last night, she didn’t know who I was and was asking me, “Where did Julie go?” She ‘snapped-out-of-it’ by bedtime, and was calling me Julie and telling me what a wonderful sister I am (me being her sister is the norm for months now).
So, a caretaker that we can hire for these longer stretches would be great!
Counting My Blessings…
I am SO thankful to the Lord for giving me siblings that are on board with me. That we have had this plan in place for over 12 months now is such a blessing. I’m well aware that this is NOT the norm for most caretakers. In so many situations, the caretaking is left to one family member. It overwhelms me to even think about that!
However, if the Lord placed me in the situation where I was alone with Mom, I know He would give me the grace, compassion, and strength to do it… or He would provide the means to have help. He is good, all the time!
Mother’s Day Gifts for Mom with Dementia
So, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m thinking about gifts for my mom with Alzheimer’s.
And, just FYI, I am by NO means an expert on dementia or caretaking. But, these gift options for loved ones with cognitive impairment are things that my mom has enjoyed, or I believe she will enjoy at some point in her journey with this disease.
The gifts are separated by ‘type’, with one feature photo and then additional items listed below each feature photo.
Things to Remember as You Shop
One of the hardest things to deal with as far as Alzheimer’s and other dementias is, no two loved ones are alike… ever.
So, as you peruse these games and puzzles, and all these gifts for that matter, keep in mind that these may work for your loved one, but they may not. Think about what they like now. Remember, it might be different than what they liked before dementia reared its ugly head.
Sometimes, you have to try something to see if your loved one will enjoy the gift or not. It’s kind of a hit-or-miss type of thing. But, it’s often worth it just to try an item one time, and then get more if they DO like the gift!
This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my complete disclosure HERE.
Games for Dementia Patients
Games are hard for my mom. But, these look like they might work well for her! I think I’ll add one to our collection.
Now, take a look at these other games. (Tap on the arrows to see more options.)
Children’s card games work well, as long as I prompt mom what to do each time it is her turn.
Coloring Books and Magic Water Paint Book Gifts for Mom with Dementia
Again, coloring books are a hit-or-miss with Mom. However, I know LOTS of moms and dads with dementia that still enjoy coloring.
Also, I’m sharing some “magic water paint” books… my mom enjoyed these until recently. Unfortunately, now she doesn’t understand that she can’t choose her own colors. Again, sometimes you gotta try it with your loved one before you can tell what works and what doesn’t.
Here are more coloring books and magic water books that are great options:
Also, if your mom (or dad) don’t like these, your GRANDKIDS will! LOL! Two of my ‘jellybeans’ have enjoyed the magic water color books the last two times they have come over. I’m betting it won’t be the last time they ask to paint!
Comfort Items for Loved Ones with Dementia
Although Mom is not at a point to use a comfort item for Alzheimer’s yet, I’m not at all closed to purchasing a ‘pet’ or baby doll for her in the future.
These items are a great source of comfort and calming to MANY dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. In advanced stages, your loved one may look at and care for these items as the real-thing. And in their world, it is.
Be sure to purchase a ‘pet’ that is soft and moveable. Many of the ‘dementia pets’ have hard bodies. Why, I’m not sure.
Also, I’ve included a few baby dolls that have a realistic look, but aren’t creepy-looking… at least to me! There are LOTS of baby dolls that look SO real! It’s quite amazing!
Activity Books for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s
Now THESE are my mom’s cup-o’-tea! She LOVES activity books. She will look at her four favorite ones over-and-over again, because they feel ‘new’ to her each time she picks them up.
All these books include activities to keep the mind busy and focused. My mom loves the word searches, and the unusual activities such as looking at an image on the page, and choosing the silhouette that matches.
And here are a few more!
Toys for Mom with Dementia
Mom enjoys some toys, others not-so-much, which is normal.
Toys can keep your loved one busy and focused, and just gives them something more to do. Magnetic and building toys seem to fascinate my mom, and she especially loves the liquid motion bubblers.
Here are more motion bubblers, as well as some great additional options for play:
Crafts for Parents with Dementia
Is your mom a ‘maker’? You know, someone who loves to craft and create things, especially for the home?
When I was a young adult, my mom owned a ceramic business that hand-painted nursery (baby room) lamps, clocks, nightlights, and switchplates that coordinated with the trending nursery bedding sets on the market. Mom was an excellent artist, and really knew how to design well!
These items for crafting are wonderful for focused time alone, or something fun for you to do with your loved one.
Here are more items that would be fun to use for crafting with Mom on Mother’s Day!
Those sticker stain-glass kits look perfect for Mom! Off to order one… or three!
Puzzles for Mom with Alzheimer’s
Puzzles are another ‘life-saver’ for Mom and me.
However, one of the craziest things during this past year has been seeing how mom’s decline in her disease has affected her ability to put puzzles together, by herself. More than not, she now tries to put an edge piece in the middle of a puzzle, or put a totally different color in an area of another color. Boy, does she like to try and make those pieces FIT! It’s mind boggling what this disease does to the brain!
So, she either does 60 piece puzzles by herself (and this will turn into 35 piece soon), or we work on 300 piece puzzles together. With me ‘coaching’ by leaving pieces near the area they belong, or giving her a pile of pieces that go together, she is happy to sit with me for sometimes an hour and work on a large puzzle.
Plus, large puzzles get the brain tired, and act as a great ‘sleeping pill’. 😉
Here are more Wysocki puzzles, and some adult puzzles that have very few pieces. Mom has fun with children’s puzzles, too! (And, she doesn’t get bored with the same ones, because she doesn’t remember she did them before!)
The finger pop puzzle shown above reminds me of Tetris, a game many seniors use to play on the computer!
Blu-Ray and DVDs for Mom with Dementia
DVDs of old movies and classic musicals have also been a tremendous help, especially in the early evenings when ‘sundowners’ is at its ‘high’.
Keeping screen time to a minimum is important with dementia patients, and those trying to avoid dementia. We keep screen time limited usually to the evenings (there are exceptions), and we always keep the programs and movies ‘light’. Anything with issues that need to be resolved or anything that could cause the slightest depression or anxiety, we avoid. (Even home renovation shows can be depressing to Mom.)
When choosing shows and movies, stick with the classics: musicals, old comedies, series such as “I Love Lucy” or “The Andy Griffith Show” (though Andy has been upsetting Mom lately, too!)
Here are more of our favorites… remember, keep it lighthearted. And be sure to watch musicals since music is HUGE in soothing dementia patients. My mom and I often sing (loudly) along with the movies!
Digital Gifts for Patients with Dementia
Digital products can be difficult to use with our loved ones that have any type of dementia.
However, there are a few items that have been very helpful in our home. One is the clock shown below, as well as the ‘radio’ box.
Remember, teaching those with dementia something new is nearly impossible. It frustrates them, and you! So really think it through if the digital gift for your mom with dementia is worth the ‘learning curve’, if there is any.
The items below are helpful, too. I’m also leaving some links below the images for additional items that we use.
ViewClix Smart Frame – We first invested in this product during the pandemic. At the time, Mom was living in an assisted living community, and we were unable to visit her in person. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t know how to work a smart phone, so ViewClix was the answer. It is a “drop-in” video call smart frame. It is COMPLETELY controlled by the caretaker or anyone that has the app. The loved one with dementia doesn’t have to do anything… nothing! It is the best item we have ever bought for our mom.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone – This cell phone is really easy for a dementia patient to use. You program the phone through the online app by adding contacts’ numbers and their photos. If your loved one wants to make a call, they simply tap on the photo. They cannot dial out unless the photo is present. Also, no incoming calls can be taken unless the photo is present. So, no danger in phishing calls! Check it out for more features and details.
Personal Items for Mother’s Day for Mom with Dementia
Even moms that have memory loss KNOW they love to be pampered.
Mom has a ‘spa day’ two to three times a week where she gets a shower, her hair washed (once a week), and her body and feet are pampered. She still enjoys her showers, and I’m hoping this continues!
Along with some fragrant body items, I’m sharing some other items that your mom (or dad) would enjoy, whether they can remember or not. 🙂
Here are more personal items that your loved one might enjoy!
More Helpful Links for Caretakers
Whew! Now THAT is a list… and a half, right?
Well, here are more links the not only have additional gifts, but they also provide helpful information for caring for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s:
- Alzheimers Store – Great gifts and helpful info
- Daily Caring – Great site for all things dementia related
- Lo’Aids – Mobility and daily living aids… and much more!
I hope this was helpful to at least some of my readers! I would actually really like to know. Give me a shout-out in the comments if it was!
God bless you, Julie, for taking care of your mother as she battles dementia and for putting this wonderful piece together.
Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease. I watched as it ravaged and took my once lively, active beautiful mother and turned her into a stoic, wheelchair bound being who could no longer smile or communicate in any way. I had to speak to her and for her, looking deep into her blue eyes praying she somehow recognized me as her youngest. She’s in a better place with my beloved father now. Hopefully they both know how much I love, miss and appreciate them every day.
It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with your mom before the dementia hit. That is wonderful. Makes for a much more tender time during the disease. I’m sure your love was felt everyday, by both of them!
My mom had dementia and loved to watch Andy Griffith. One day I had it on and she said “this is a rerun!” We had a caretaker for her and what a blessing that was. There was really nothing mom could do but sit. She had macular degeneration and so couldn’t see to do puzzles or read which she didn’t like to do anyway. She also had poor hearing and even with hearing aids struggled. I’m glad you have the help from your siblings.
That is so hard when they lose their sight AND their hearing. I hope we can find a caretaker soon. I think we have a good lead to a good organization. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Sandy!
This is a great list – thanks so much for sharing! I have a loved one who is in the beginning stages of dementia, so I plan to refer back to this list in the future. I also have a good friend whose mom has dementia, so I will be passing this along to her. You are obviously a wonderful daughter, and I pray that God will bless you and your mom and your siblings as well as you continue this journey.
Thank you, Jeanine. Any time you want to ‘talk’ about your mom’s and your journey, shoot me an email. I’m here for you!
I love this list. My mom would benefit from a couple of these. Dementia is complicated and difficult and downright ugly at times. Hang in there.
I still need to order gifts for Mom. Although I did get the stained glass craft. I’m going to try to work with her on that today. 🙂 Thanks for dropping in, Karin! Miss you!
Thank you for all your suggestions for help for senior citizens with memory failings.
I am 82 years old and so far so good! I will pass this on to friends who could use it. My original intention was to try my hand at furniture restoration but I realized it might be too much for me to tackle. But I do enjoy reading what you ladies are doing. And who knows what the future holds! My church is my life center also.
I’m so glad your mind is healthy, Donna! I would bet you are past the point of long memory failure. Thank you for passing on the post to others… or even others who have caregivers. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading the blog!
Thank you so much Julie, I know first hand trying to care for a mom with Alzheimer’s. Your gift ideas are wonderful! Last Mother’s Day was my last with my mom, she passed away this February.
I love getting your emails (I don’t do blogs, lol) and I’m a church secretary so I LOVE seeing your faith 🥰.
I’m so sorry that you lost your mom, Lynn. But living here on Earth with dementia is SO hard for them…and the caregivers. I often pray that the Lord would take my mom Home before she gets REALLY bad. It’s hard on her, and she knows that she is losing her memory, so that makes it harder.
I’m so glad you enjoy the emails… and even though you don’t do blogs, I’m super thankful you left a comment this time! It was comforting to me!
Thank you Julie for this wonderful post! I have a sister with dementia and unfortunately her twin sister is the only one that lives by her so A LOT of her care falls on her, even though she lives with her husband most of the time. It is truly heartbreaking and all of us (other siblings) wish there was more that we could do…
These are all great ideas I will keep in mind and pass along to my sister.
I’m so sorry to hear of your sister’s disease. It’s so hard to be far away. My mom always lived across the country from her folks, and didn’t have the money to visit often. So my aunts were the ones to take care of my grandparents in the older years. When Mom did visit, she spent LOTS of time sitting with them, and visiting, and it gave my aunts a break. Now, my aunts can’t help with my mom because they are still across the country. But, they are so good about calling me and listening and supporting me. And they also call my mom once a week and talk with her, though my mom makes no sense and her stories are crazy. 🙂 They are loving her that way, and it means so much to my mom… and me! Don’t hard on yourself. I’m sure you are doing what you can in your situation. 🙂
God bless you, Julie! We helped care for my father-in-law with dementia, as well as his second wife, also with dementia. We had family who also helped. It makes such a difference! It is a horrible disease.
I loved the story that Ronald Reagan’s son told about his father. It went something like this: “Do you know who I am?” “You’re the one who gives me hugs.” They remember our love. This is a great post, with some excellent ideas and insights, and I’m sure it will be helpful to many. Blessings!
Thanks so much, Marilyn. I can’t even imagine having to do this twice! Wow! Although, I was my dad’s hospice caregiver. He passed from complications of diabetes. But, that was only 7 weeks! I’ve never heard the story about Reagan. Love that!
What a great list of suggestions! I’m pinning as this is an on-going challenge for so many.
Thanks so much, Donna! I appreciate the pin!
Thank you Julie – lovely, thoughtful gifts. I wish I’d known about you when I was caring for my mother. She went to be with her Lord and Saviour at the beginning of the pandemic (He knew she and I couldn’t have coped with the imposed separation!). I have no siblings so struggled with the care of my mother until her doctor and my doctor both told me that I would have to place her in a care home. She spent months in hospital because she kept forgetting that she couldn’t walk, and would get up, fall, and break another bone because she had osteoporosis. I went to visit her and feed her until the end but I still struggle with the guilt of not taking take of her myself. However , I empathize with everyone in the situation – as you say, each one is different. I go and visit another old friend now and will take advantage of your suggestions—thank you! God bless you in the care of your mother.
Thanks for commenting, Florence. I SO get the struggle with knowing what is the best thing to do for any loved one with dementia. Mom has been in two different assisted living/memory care communities. They were good for her for a time, but the siblings and I just felt it was time to bring her home as long as possible. The issues that we had with her before are still there, but easier, because she forgets them. So I totally understand your situation. I actually wish the memory care was still a viable option. They can be a great alternative. You sound like you were a wonderful and loving daughter to her! The Lord is good, and I know He was pleased with your care of her! Hugs, Florence!